SAINT PAUL – Today, the Minnesota House will debate HF 600 on the House Floor.
The bill would prevent local communities from improving workers’ benefits for Minnesota families. The bill would roll back earned sick time for 150,000 Minnesotans, and prevent future wage and benefit increases in communities across the state.
"Our priority should be to improve economic outcomes for working families –we shouldn’t make it harder for them to get by," said House DFL Leader Melissa Hortman (Brooklyn Park). "We should expand benefits like earned sick time, but instead Republicans want to take them away from hardworking Minnesotans."
According to the Minnesota Budget Project, wages for low-wage workers are still below 2000 levels when adjusted for inflation, and have just recently caught up to pre-recession levels. Low-wage jobs, however, are on the rise as they replace jobs in higher paying industries.
“It’s shocking that the Republicans in the legislature are so eager to rob people of their local democracy and government,” said Rep. Tim Mahoney (DFL-Saint Paul). “This bill will put an end to decades of progress on pro-worker policies that give working families a shot at a better life. True to form, Republicans have shown that they’re willing to shortchange working people each and every time their special interest friends like the Chamber of Commerce ask.”
Committee hearings on HF 600 drew strong criticism from a broad variety of Minnesotans including nurses, faith leaders, labor leaders, city officials, neighborhood groups, and workers.
“We need to help working families by fighting wage theft, passing paid sick and family leave, lowering healthcare costs, and raising wages,” said Rep. Michael Nelson (DFL-Brooklyn Park). This anti-worker, anti-labor bill is an attack on workers’ rights to organize locally and it has no place in Minnesota and no place in America.”
Rolling back workers’ rights is one of Minnesota Republicans’ top priorities this session, despite statewide need for investments in areas like transportation and bonding that haven’t seen substantial legislative action for several years.
“It is a sad day in Minnesota when taking away earned benefits from workers is a bigger priority than passing a bonding bill or a comprehensive transportation bill,” said Rob Ecklund (DFL –International Falls). Corporations are doing just fine and don’t need more help from politicians in St. Paul to hold down wages and eliminate benefits. We should be helping working families, not hurting them.”
Rep. Tim Mahoney is a retired union pipefitter, Rep. Michael Nelson is retired union carpenter, and Rep. Rob Ecklund is a union Steelworker.